cover of book

Gogol's Artistry
by Andrei Bely
translated by Christopher Colbath
introduction by Christopher Colbath
foreword by Vyacheslav Ivanov
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Cloth: 978-0-8101-2590-2
Library of Congress Classification PG3335.Z8B4513 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.733

When one great author engages another, as Andrei Bely so brilliantly does in Gogol’ s Artistry, the result is inevitably a telling portrait of both writers. So it is in Gogol’ s Artistry. Translated into English for the first time, this idiosyncratic, exhaustive critical study is as interesting for what it tells us about Bely’ s thought and method as it is for its insights into the oeuvre of his literary predecessor. Bely’ s argument in this book is that Gogol’ s earlier writing should be given more consideration than most critics have granted. Employing what might be called a scientific perspective, Bely considers how often certain colors appear; he diagrams sentences and discusses Gogol’ s prose in terms of mathematical equations. The result, as strange and engaging as Bely’ s best fiction, is also an innovative, thorough, and remarkably revealing work of criticism.

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